The Southern Hemisphere's biggest dragon boat regatta is in Sydney to mark the end of Chinese New Year

Sydney is hosting the biggest dragon boat race regatta in the Southern Hemisphere this weekend.

Thousands of paddlers have taken to the water at Cockle Bay, racing 12-metre long boats decorated with traditional Chinese dragon features.

The concept of the races was first started more than 2000 years ago to commemorate Qu Yuan, the great warrior poet who drowned in the river Miluo as a protest against political corruption.

Today it represents patriotism and group integrity – and is one of the fastest-growing sports in Australia.

The two-day regatta was kicked off yesterday after a Taoist ceremony which blessed the water. The races are the climax of Sydney’s annual Chinese New Year Festival which concludes today.

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